Geneva, June 21, 2007 — UN Watch today released a new video revealing how the UN’s highest human rights body is “routinely turned on its head by the worst abusers, to attack democracies, destroy mechanisms of human rights protection, and assault the very idea of human rights,” said Hillel Neuer, executive director of the Geneva-based non-governmental organization.
Despite attempts to break from a discredited past, the UN Human Rights Council concluded its June 2007 reform session by voting to drop the authoritarian regimes of Belarus and Cuba from its blacklist, while imposing new restrictions on the independent experts who report on torture, violence against women, or violations by countries like Sudan. The ability to introduce resolutions that name abusers was curbed. However, Israel was singled out for permanent indictment under the council’s sole agenda item targeting a specific country.
The new video is already making the rounds on popular blogs. Previous UN Watch videos have been seen by hundreds of thousands of viewers through the popular YouTube.com website, and were the subject of editorials around the globe.
“Tragically, instead of protecting victims, the council is run by notorious violators who worry only about protecting themselves,” said Neuer. “Dominated by members like Cuba and China—and by observer states like Sudan, which heads the council’s influential Arab group—it’s a classic case of the inmates running the asylum.”
Many of the following sample quotes from the UN Human Rights Council appear in the above video.
“The United States [is] the main enemy of international cooperation and human rights across the world.” — Cuban Ambassador Juan Antonio Fernández Palacios, June 19, 2007.
“They [Americans] are killing civilians, practicing torture, and other cruelty exhibiting those of Nazism.” — North Korean Amb. Choe Myong Nam, Sept. 27, 2006.
“The United Kingdom. . . is spearheading the rabid, demonic forces against Zimbabwe.” — Zimbabwe Amb. Chitsaka Chipaziwa, Mar. 29, 2007.
Blaming Western Conspiracy
“We witness a conspiracy against Sudan for political objectives.” — Minister of Justice of the Sudan Mohamed Ali Elmardi, Mar. 16, 2007.
- “External parties [are] exploiting the situation [in Darfur] so that they can achieve their own objectives, in oil particularly.” — Syrian represenative Abdul-Monem Annan, June 13, 2007.
Insulting UN Experts
“The Cuba she is trying to present to us is. . . concocted in the laboratories of the CIA and the White House.” — Cuban Amb. Juan Antonio Fernández Palacios, attacking Ms. Christine Chanet, the UN expert on human rights violations in Cuba, June 12, 2007.
“The report [of the expert on Belarus] is really a basket-case in terms of analyzing what can go wrong in special procedures.” — Algerian Amb. Idriss Jazairy, insulting Mr. Adrian Severin, June 12, 2007.
Elimination of Experts on Country Violations
“Ambassador Juan Antonio Fernandez. . . within a few days, together with you, we will celebrate the end of the mandate of this rapporteur [expert on Cuban violations], and we will listen together to Guantanamera.”
— Palestine representative Mohammad Abu-Koash, June 12, 2007.
“All country rapporteurs should be dropped.”
— Palestinian representative Mohammad Abu-Koash, Mar. 12, 2007.
“Shed the institution of country-specific procedures.”
— Russian representative Sergey Chumarev, Oct. 3, 2006.
Perverting Human Rights
“We represent the conscience of humanity.” — Sudan representative, Oct. 4, 2006.
“Arafat, Castro, [Che] Guevara stand tall. . . in their worldwide influence, stature, and inspiration.”
— Palestinian representative Mohammad Abu-Koash, June 12, 2007.
“It’s become politically incorrect to be antisemitic against Jews while it is correct to be antisemitic against Arab peoples. Antisemitism is a form of racism that we’ve all experienced.” — Algeria’s Amb. Idriss Jazairy, head of the African Group at the Human Rights Council, June 11, 2007. Notwithstanding his degrees from the universities of Oxford and Harvard, as well as France’s elite Ecole Nationale d’Administration, Ambassador Jazairy offers the childish argument, often repeated at the UN by Arab and Muslim states, that because Arabs are “Semitic” people, the universal term for hostility or prejudice against Jews ought to be gutted of its meaning. In so doing, the Algerian diplomat and his colleagues seek to deny antisemitism by redefining the very concept itself out of existence.
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